Instagram has been busy testing several new features, including a “close friends” feature, GIF search, and the ability to follow specific hashtags the way you’d follow an account, according to the tech site The Next Web.
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One of the most interesting features the website found was something called “close friends,” which will allow users to share posts with only a small group of their closest friends. This appears to be an extension of the “favorites” feature the app began testing earlier this year.
Originally created in response to the “finsta”phenomenon — users creating a separate stealth Instagram account for only close friends — favorites was billed as a way for people to maintain the ability to share with small groups of friends without having to juggle multiple accounts.
An Instagram spokesperson who spoke to Mashable declined to comment.
Other notable features uncovered by TNW include:
GIF search (via Giphy) to add animated GIFS to Stories
the ability to follow specific hashtags
native sharing to WhatsApp
the ability to “archive” Stories
Additionally, the site found a new button on Instagram posts that they claim is a “regram” feature that will allow users to re-share posts from others. There’s not a ton of information about this one, but according to TNW, it would replicate the functionality of third-party apps like Repost for Instagram.
However, it’s important to note that The Next Web did not test the feature. It appears that the site’s editors are judging the button’s functionality based on its appearance and resemblance to third-party tools.
It’s also important to remember Instagram, like Facebook, frequently tests new features in its app before deciding whether or not to launch them officially.
Still, the experiments offer an interesting look at what types of features the company is thinking about and which areas they’re looking to change.